The old saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s the case, then a video is worth many many more. With over two billion worldwide users - second only to Facebook - YouTube is the largest online video sharing website on Earth. Over a billion total hours of YouTube video content is viewed around the world every single day; as such, its potential reach for information sharing and marketing is incalculable. Simply by signing up for an account, anyone can upload videos onto their YouTube page about nearly any topic imaginable. If you’d rather get in front of a camera instead of writing advertising copy, YouTube might just be the platform for you. Read on to discover how to begin and manage your YouTube account.

How to create your YouTube account

As with most social media networks, signing up for YouTube is free and easy. To begin, simply follow this link (1), which will take you to Google’s signup page. Yes, you read that right - signing up with YouTube is a little different than some other platforms, as YouTube is owned by search engine behemoth Google. If you already have a Google account, the system will simply prompt you to sign in to your Google account. Once you have done so, it will automatically create your YouTube account once you confirm. It’s just that easy!

If you do not yet have a Google account, it will ask you to create one (due to the Google/YouTube partnership, you must have a Google account to create a YouTube account). To create your Google account, enter your name, the ‘username’ you wish to be known by on Google and YouTube, and a password of your choice. It will also ask you to select a few security questions from a dropdown menu, as well as your specific answers. The system will ask if you want to create a Google Mail (GMail) email account to tie to your Google account. If you would prefer to skip this step, the system will ask for your preferred email address or a phone number. Next, Google will prompt you to add another ‘recovery’ email address or phone number. This is optional: the system will store this information if you ever have issues accessing your account in the future.

If you are unsure whether you have signed up for Google in the past, you can check this page (2) and enter the email or phone number that you believe you may have signed up for Google with previously. If you already have an account with Google, the system will notify you and prompt you to update your password.

How to regain access to your account

Remember those security questions that Google asked you when you signed up? Now’s the time to dig the answers out of your memory. To regain access to your account, visit the same page as above (2), and the system will prompt you for the email (or phone number) that you used when you signed up. Once entered, the system will ask for your password. If you cannot remember it, Google will choose one of the security questions that you answered upon signup and ask for your answer. Try to write the answer exactly how you entered it earlier. If the answers match, the system will consider your identity verified and will prompt you to enter a new password of your choice (3). If the answer does not match exactly, the site may try asking you a different security question. If Google is still unable to confirm your identity, it will create a text box where you can explain why you are unable to log in and the problem you are experiencing and a YouTube administrator will review the issue and attempt to assist.

How to edit your account

Now that you have a YouTube account and are able to explore the site, how do you get started on creating your own content? Your first step is to manage your account. And again, since YouTube is owned by Google, this is done primarily through Google. Once signed in to either Google or YouTube, simply click the profile picture circle in the upper right hand corner of the screen. This will bring you to your account management screen, where you can add personal info (including your name, a profile photo, birthday, email, and phone number), adjust your privacy and security settings, add contacts, and more.

Now you’re ready to share some content! Visit YouTube and you’ll notice that profile photo, or ‘icon’, circle appears in the upper right corner just as it does in Google. Click the circle and a dropdown menu will appear. At the top, select ‘Create a Channel’. Just as on television, your individual video account is called a “channel” on YouTube. Once you click that, YouTube will ask that you confirm your Google/Youtube information to verify that you do wish to proceed. Once you confirm, your channel is created!

To upload videos to your YouTube channel, click ‘Your Channel’ in the dropdown menu. Hit the ‘Manage Videos’ button on the right side of the screen and then ‘Dashboard on the list of options on the left side. Click ‘Upload Videos’ and then select the video file you wish to upload to your channel. Just like that, you are a content creator ready to turn heads across the globe!

How to hide your channel

You can choose to temporarily hide content on your channel or permanently delete your channel. You can hide content from your YouTube channel and choose to re-enable it later. Hiding your channel will make channel name, videos, likes, subscriptions, and subscribers private. Note that hiding or deleting a YouTube channel will permanently delete all Community posts, comments, and replies. To hide your channel, sign in to YouTube Studio. From the left sidebar, select Settings . Select Channel and then Advanced Settings. At the bottom, select Remove YouTube Content. Note: This link will take you to a page where you can delete or hide your channel. You may be asked to enter your sign-in details. Select I want to hide my content. Select the boxes to confirm what will be hidden on your channel. Select Hide my channel. You can choose to re-enable the channel later on to make it visible again (4).

How to delete your account

To delete your YouTube channel, click on your profile icon in the upper right. Select your created channel in the dropdown and select ‘Delete Channel’. YouTube will ask that you enter your password to confirm you wish to delete. Once you do so and click ‘Next’, the system will then ask if you want to “hide” your content or delete your content. Hiding your content will allow you to retain your channel’s content but make it unsearchable for others on the site. If you wish to delete, select that option and a final warning will advise that the data will be permanently erased. Once you press ‘Delete My Content’, the channel will be removed from your YouTube account for good (5).

Erasing a channel that you have created will *not* erase either your YouTube account or Google account and you will still be able to browse videos from other creators on YouTube. To delete YouTube entirely, it is currently necessary to delete your Google account as well, as these two companies are inextricably linked. To delete your account on Google, you may visit this link (6) and follow the easy instructions.

There is no better medium to spread the word about current events, breaking news, or advertised services than video and there is no more powerful video tool on the web than YouTube. The global reach of YouTube can be instrumental in discovering customers that you might not be able to reach any other way. Whether it’s via a tutorial, success story, or simply a direct, to-the-point advertisement, learning the ins and outs of YouTube can give you the potential to broaden your outreach and create the digital ‘footprint’ you need to push your marketing to the next level. Give YouTube a try and make some movie magic!

  1. YouTube Signup

  2. Sign in - Google Accounts

  3. Tips to complete account recovery steps - Google Account Help

  4. Hide your YouTube channel

  5. How to Delete a YouTube Channel (with Pictures) - wikiHow

  6. Delete your Google Account - Google Account Help

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